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Pytlas, Bartek (2018): Radical right politics in East and West: Distinctive yet equivalent. In: Sociology Compass, Vol. 12, No. 11

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Particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, but also in "the West," radical right politics established itself in the mainstream and continues to challenge liberal democracy from within. While there is broad consensus that radical right politics in both regions constitute an exclusionary, anti-pluralist counter-reaction against societal modernization, the discussion continues whether the radical right in the East remains a contextually distinctive phenomenon sui generis, or rather becomes increasingly similar and "functionally equivalent" to the West. This review synthesizes extant findings on radical right politics from a comparative East-West perspective. Pursuing a "middle path" approach based on the framing perspective, it discusses conceptual synergies behind contextually distinctive and functionally equivalent aspects of radical right politics, expanding these comparative observations towards narrative strategies, mainstreaming mechanisms, and its impact on societies, party systems, policies, and liberal democracy as such. The discussion demonstrates the potential of the framing approach for comparative East-West study of radical right politics. It further shows that not only can concepts developed for WE cases be adapted to inform studies on CEE. Concurrently, contextualized insights from Central and Eastern Europe can provide broader lessons relevant to the study of radical right politics across Europe and in "the West."

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